There are two indisputable facts as the Astros wind down the first month of the season. First, Chris Devenski is one heck of a relief pitcher. Second, if there is a gaping hole in the Astros’ plans for world domination, it is a starting rotation that beyond Dallas Keuchel is shaky.
The Astros strong 14-7 start to the season has been built upon 5 super strong starts by Keuchel, overall great bullpen work and an offense, which struggled the first week, but has been the comeback kids the last two. The rest of the starting staff does not have 5 strong starts combined since the beginning of the season.
So, the question is – do the Astros move Devenski out of the pen and into the rotation?
Arguments For the Move
– Man he’s good – Devenski has been the best and most effective pitcher behind Keuchel on the staff.
– Insane control – His ability to control multiple pitches is almost machine-like. His 27 Ks vs only 1 walk in 14.2 innings seems impossible.
– The “other” pitchers – 4.34/1.310, 4.29/1.571, 5.91/1.453 and 5.40/1.533 – Those are the unimpressive ERAs/WHIPs of the “other” starting pitchers currently in the rotation, Lance McCullers Jr, Charlie Morton, Joseph Musgrove and Mike Fiers.
– So much better – 1.26 / 0.558 – Those are the impeccable ERA and WHIP respectively of Devenski to this point.
– Two words – Collin McHugh. The former #2 starter is out for the first 6 weeks of the season with no guarantee he will be back at all.
Arguments Against the Move
– If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – The Astros have been far and away the best team in their division and one of the best in baseball to this point.
– Don’t screw up the bullpen – Devenski’s ability to absorb varying amounts of innings at a time has allowed other portions of the bullpen to rest. This has led to a reasonable work load and a very effective bullpen.
– More is not always better – What works for Devenski once or twice through the lineup might be figured out on the third or more viewing
– Will the velocity be there – It is likely that Devenski as a starter would have to throttle back that 95 mph fastball to 92-93 mph when he stretches out
– Losing the special weapon – Devenski gives the Astros something unique, a longer lasting version of Andrew Miller, an extremely effective pitcher who can come into high leveraged situations and not leave for a number of innings.
The question here is … Do you think the Astros should move Devenski into the starting rotation, not make the move or consider the move at a later date?